HybridDrive for Wind Turbines ( Solar Thermal Magazine) – MOUNTAIN VIEW, California., Oct. 2, 2014. – Based on its recent analysis of gearboxes for the wind energy market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Winergy with the 2013 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Differentiation Excellence. Winergy’s HybridDrive drivetrain with its higher torque-to-weight ratio, as well as lower length and mass, diminishes the overall cost of wind turbine installation for wind energy producing companies.
Winergy’s HybridDrive is a medium-speed drivetrain that consists of two gear stages and a generator. The two gear stages comprise planetary gearboxes and the generator used for the prototype is a 24 pole PM synchronous machine in an integrated system optimized to the gearbox. HybridDrive supports wind turbines with power ratings ranging from 3 to 8 megawatts.
“The length of the drivetrain can be reduced by 35 to 50 percent, based on customer preferences,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Krishna Raman.
Winergy can also decrease the weight of the drivetrain by nearly 6 percent in the case of smaller turbines (power rating of less than 3 megawatts); for larger turbines (power rating of 8 megawatts and above), it can lower their weight by more than 10 percent.
The reduction in the length and the mass of the drivetrain provides various options to the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and wind turbine manufacturers. The first option is to place the transformer and the frequency converter at the top of the tower, along with the drivetrain. This enables the usage of a medium-voltage cable instead of a low-voltage cable to transmit electricity from the turbine to the grid. In the process, it can lower the cable loss associated with low-voltage transmission.
Another option is to place the frequency converter at the top of the tower and the transformer on the ground. The third option is an ultra-compact design wherein only the drivetrain is placed at the top of the tower. This solution is ideal for customers that require ease-of-logistics installation.
Customers of HybridDrive systems also have the freedom to use journal bearings (bearings that do not have rolling elements) instead of the standard anti-friction bearings available with competitors’ gearboxes. Journal bearings are smaller, less expensive, and suitable for high-load applications. The first prototype of the wind turbine with the HybridDrive uses a single-bearing (3 meters in diameter) solution for the main shaft instead of a standard double-bearing solution. This customization provides customers with the opportunity to further decrease the cost and the space required to install the drivetrain.
HybridDrive’s design is compliant with the 2010 edition of GL Guideline for the Certification of Wind Turbines. Compared to competing medium-speed drivetrains, HybridDrive has a higher torque-to-weight ratio, which is considered the best attainable value in practical conditions. The gearbox and generator has a combined power transmission efficiency of more than 96.5 percent.
“By decreasing the mass and increasing the torque-to-weight ratio of the drivetrain, HybridDrive has resolved the issue of the inverse correlation between ROIs and power capacities of a wind turbine,” noted Raman.
Overall, Winergy’s contribution to the production of approximately 100 gigawatts of wind power is expected to enhance HybridDrive’s brand value.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed a product with unique features and functionality as well as high quality for customers with complex needs. The award lauds the degree of the product’s customization and the fit for evolving market trends, which ultimately results in a strong brand perception of the product as being unique.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
Winergy, with its headquarters in Voerde, Germany, is the leading drive train component manufacturer for wind turbines. Presently Winergy will have supplied 100 GW gearbox power into the wind energy industry. With more than 30 years of experience, Winergy offers gearboxes, HybridDrives, couplings and services to wind turbine manufacturers as well as wind park owners / operations & maintenance companies. The product portfolio covers power ratings between 750 kW and 6.5 MW. This is complemented by a high quality professional service portfolio. Production and service locations are located in Europe, China, India and the US, while the base of service partners is expanded continuously on a global level.
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